October 21, 2014

Calderon closing in on NBA Free-Throw Record(s), Calvin Murphy’s Wrath

2009/01/07 3:25 pm 3:25 pm3:25 pm3:25 pm 1 comment

Jose Calderon, point guard for the Toronto Raptors, is closing in a spectacular feat.

He hasn’t missed a free-throw since last season.  April 11th, 2008 to be exact when he made his final three free throws of the 2007-08 season.  And including this season, that’s 75 straight-free throws made.   The 6-3 guard is now only 22 free-throws away from tying Michael Williams’ NBA record of 97 consecutive free-throws made without a miss.

jose Calderon shoots a free throw Already Calderon’s 75 consecutive free-throws without a miss is good to share the #5 spot ALL-TIME with Ricky Pierce, and behind only Williams, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (81), Calvin Murphy (78), and Mark Price (77) .

Top-Ten NBA Free-Throw Streaks:

  1. 97 - Micheal Williams, 1993 (2 seasons)
  2. 81 – Mahmoud Abdul Rauf, 1993 (2)
  3. 78 – Calvin Murphy, 1980-81 (2)
  4. 77 – Mark Price, 1993 (2)
  5. 75 – Jose Calderon, 2008 – present (2)
  6. 75 – Ricky Pierce, 1991 (2)
  7. 74 - Steve Nash, 2007 (2)
  8. 73 - Caron Butler, 2008 (1)
  9. 71 - Larry Bird, 1989-90 (1)
  10. 71 - Sam Cassell, 2004 (1)

Calderon is averaging 2.4 free-throws a game, so factoring a hamstring injury that will keep him out a week or so, Calderon is probably a few weeks  away from the record.

What Would Calvin Murphy Do?
I wonder what Calvin Murphy would do if he still held the consecutive free-throw streak.  Would the 5-9 NBA Hall-of-Famer show up at Calderon’s game and heckle him, or talk trash,  as he has done with previous potential record-breakers like Michael Williams, Mahmoud Abdul Rauf, and Mark Price:

“For 12 years, the NBA record for most consecutive free throws was held by Houston Rockets mighty mite Calvin Murphy, who became the guardian of the record, often gleefully cackling whenever a player got close but fell short.  In April 1993, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Mark Price came one free throw short of tying Murphy’s mark of 78 in a row. After the miss, someone asked Murphy if Price choked. “I don’t want to use that word,” Murphy said, “but the shot speaks for itself. I can’t believe it missed that badly.”

Murphy wouldn’t have much time to celebrate Price’s miscue. While everyone was focusing on Price’s streak, Michael Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves was right behind Price, and quietly piling up a streak of his own.  Wiliiams would not only break Murphy’s record, but shatter it, despite Calvin obviously wanting him to miss:

Murphy, who had been hoping against hope that Willies would miss, surely would have flown in for the Timberwolves’ next game against the Utah Jazz, to sit courtside and wiggle his fingers at Williams as if to deliver a curse and keep his record alive. But the Rockets broadcaster had a game to call the night before and couldn’t be there on April 25, 1993… when Williams broke his record.

Though Murphy’s consecutive free throw record had been eclipsed, his single-season record for the highest-free throw percentage in a single season was still intact when he made 206/215 free throws in 1980-81, good for an NBA record 95.8%.

But in 1994, the season following William’s record-breaking free-throw streak,  Murphy found another of his NBA records in jeopardy.

Murphy also owned another NBA record; the highest FT percentage for a single season.  The player that was honing in on the record?  Mahmoud Abdul Rauf, a player that had already pushed Murphy down to third place in consecutive free-throws made the previous season.  And unfortunate scheduling had Denver visiting Houston on the final day of the 1993-94 NBA season:

Denver’s Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf went into Houston on the final day of the regular season having hit on 96% of his 227 attempts.  When Abdul-Rauf went to the line for the first time in the final minutes, Murphy stood up from his courtside seat and performed a little voodoo hex. Abdul-Rauf missed and Murphy did a celebratory dance.

Murphy not only stood up and performed a ad-hoc curse on Mahmoud, but he was also seen holding the basketball before Abdul-Rauf attempted the foul shot that could have broken Murphy’s single-season record for free throw percentage.

That one missed free-throw, on the final day of the regular season, would keep Calvin Murphy on top of the record books.  While  Abdul-Rauf, would end the season at 95.6% — only 0.02% off of Murphy’s record of 95.8%.

Calvin Murphy’s highest single-season free-throw percentage NBA record still stands today.  We’ll see if Murphy is on hand on March 3rd, 2009, when Calderon and the Toronto Raptors visit the Houston Rockets.

Notes: The record for free-throws in the Euroleague Record is 94 straight free-throws by former-NBA player Arvydas Macijauskas of Lithuania. Macijauskas accomplished the feat while playing for Tau Ceramica Baskonia to 11/26/2006 (one season). The NCAA record is held by Paul Cluxton of Northern Kentucky, 1997-98.  Cluxton hit 98 consecutive free throws over two seasons.

Links and Resources: NBA Free-Throw Records (Nba.com), Calderon chases mark (Toronto Sun), Free Throw Streaks (MindSpring.com/~luckyshow), Eluding Calvin’s curse – Flashback: Micheal Williams’ Streak (FindArticles), Hey, Aren’t You Calvin Murphy? (New York Times)

1 Comment

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